OECD Public Governance Reviews

ISSN :
2219-0414 (online)
ISSN :
2219-0406 (print)
DOI :
10.1787/22190414
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OECD Integrity Review of Italy

OECD Integrity Review of Italy

Reinforcing Public Sector Integrity, Restoring Trust for Sustainable Growth You do not have access to this content

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Author(s):
OECD
Publication Date :
20 Sep 2013
Pages :
152
ISBN :
9789264193819 (PDF) ; 9789264193802 (print)
DOI :
10.1787/9789264193819-en

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In response to the ongoing economic crisis, Italy is undertaking a series of critically important reforms, combining pro-growth policies with severe austerity measures to achieve fiscal consolidation. The success of these structural reforms will rely heavily on the capacity of the government to restore trust in its ability and commitment to guide the country towards sustainable economic growth. At the time of this publication, however, less than a quarter of Italian citizens trusted the quality of government decision-making. Concerns over public integrity and corruption stand out as key elements underlying this prevailing lack of trust.

To restore the deficit of trust in the Italian government, the public sector needs to be embedded within a comprehensive integrity framework. Law 190 of November 6, 2012 (the Anti-Corruption Law) enshrines public sector integrity management and strengthens existing corruption prevention provisions through the designation of a new anti-corruption authority, a detailed framework for the adoption of a national anti-corruption plan, and new provisions regarding the conduct and prevention of conflict of interests in the public sector.

This OECD Integrity Review provides guidance on the implementation of key integrity and corruption prevention elements of the Law, most notably those concerning institutional coordination, the regulation of conduct and whistleblower protection, and management of integrity risks in public sector activities. The review concludes each chapter with proposals for action, with OECD member countries’ best practices in mind, with the ultimate goal of supporting Italy in its efforts to enhance integrity in the public sector and restore trust.

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    Preface and Acknowledgements

    Well-functioning democracies rely on the trust and confidence of citizens and businesses, which legitimise the decisions taken by government officials and create the conditions for effective policy making and implementation. In turn, trust and confidence in government depend on integrity and transparency, to the extent that they set high standards of conduct in the public sector.

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    Executive summary

    Italy is undertaking a series of critically important reforms as part of its response to the economic and social crisis. As in many other OECD countries, particularly in Europe, pro-growth policies have been – and will likely continue to be – accompanied by severe austerity measures to achieve fiscal consolidation. Such measures include reductions in healthcare expenditure, public employees’ wages, and pensions. As a result, Italy is facing a highly complex policy environment where there are high expectations of effective, decisive government action to safeguard the interests of the general public over those of the privileged few.

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    Restoring confidence in sustainable growth

    Italy, the euro area’s third-largest economy and the world’s seventh-largest, has been hit hard by the economic crisis since 2008. The severe economic crisis and ensuing austerity measures have eroded citizens’ trust in the ability of governments to effectively safeguard public interest. This chapter argues that strengthening integrity in the public sector and preventing corruption will not only support the restoration of trust in the Italian government – a key determinant of sustainable growth – but also contribute significantly to its objectives of fiscal consolidation, economic growth, and social fairness.

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    Strengthening integrity in the Italian public sector

    Over the last few years, Italy has introduced major reforms designed to modernise public administration, improve services, and increase citizens’ participation in public decisionmaking. This chapter presents an overview of these reforms. Legislative Decree 150/2009, known as the "Brunetta Reform", provided a comprehensive framework for improving labour productivity as well as civil service efficiency and transparency. The chapter summarises some of the open-government-related tools that leverage web 2.0 technologies for innovation in the civil service and citizens’ engagement.

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    The new anti-corruption law

    Law No. 190 of 6 November 2012, known as the "Anti-Corruption Law," puts forward a comprehensive anti-corruption package, signalling a paradigm shift from punitive to preventive in the Italian government’s approach to corruption. This chapter i) presents the background of the Law; ii) analyses its scope vis a vis existing gaps in integrity and anti-corruption legislation and iii) discusses its relevance, opportunity and risks.

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    Institutional co-ordination

    The experience of OECD countries shows that effective institutional arrangements and co-ordination are effective key elements in enhancing public sector integrity and preventing and combating corruption. This chapter considers the institutional arrangements set forth in the new Italian Anti-Corruption Law. In so doing, it i) reviews current integrity-related institutional arrangements in Italy; ii) considers the changes, including co-ordination arrangements, enshrined in the Law; iii) analyses them against key elements that help ensure that institutions fulfil their roles and collaborate properly (e.g. clear mandate, independence, and adequate resources); and iv) makes key proposals for implementing the reform effectively.

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    Codes of conduct

    Setting values and standards of conduct for public officials in a code of conduct is amongst the first steps towards safeguarding integrity in the public sector. This chapter undertakes a review of the provisions in the new Italian Anti-Corruption Law that require Italy to issue a new code of conduct for public officials. Based on the experience and lessons learned from OECD countries, the chapter discusses key factors that Italy needs to consider in designing and implementing a code of conduct. The importance of defining the scope and content of the code in a consultative, participative manner and the institutional framework necessary for monitoring the implementation of the code and enforcing it are highlighted as key factors. The chapter also presents an implementation strategy for Italy.

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    Whistleblower protection

    Public officials are most likely to detect wrongdoing in the workplace, such as fraud, misconduct or corruption. However, experience shows that when a so-called whistleblower reports such cases they may suffer various forms of retaliation. The protection of whistleblowers is therefore an integral tool in an integrity framework to prevent and combat corruption. In Italy, until the adoption of the new Anti-Corruption Law, no legal protection was provided to whistleblowers. In line with the G20 Guiding Principles for Whistleblower Protection Legislation developed by the OECD, this chapter analyses the relevant provisions in the new Anti-Corruption Law. It also provides a gap analysis assessment and mitigation strategy to ensure the effective protection of whistleblowers in Italy.

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    Integrity risk management

    Italy’s new Anticorruption Law (Law 190, 2012) requires public organisations to analyse activities exposed to corruption and to formulate plans to prevent corruption. The chapter introduces the concept of operational risk management as an instrument to support public sector integrity, drawing upon international standards (e.g. ISO 31 000:2009, COSO Enterprise Risk Management Framework). It also describes the requirements for risk management in Law 190/2012 and provides inputs for consideration by the Italian government in order to effectively implement the law, drawing on relevant good practices from other countries.

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